Court agrees to strike out parts of a defence claim in libel case against the BBC


Re: Miah v British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [2018] EWHC 1054 (QB)

This was an application to strike out parts of the BBC’s truth defence to a claim for libel brought by Dr Rina Miah, a general practitioner who used to run Harbottle Surgery in Northumberland. The claim was also for misuse of private information and breach of the data protection act.

The Court held that some of the truth defence to the allegation of reasonable grounds to suspect fraud contained particulars that were “objectionable” and those particulars exemplified “the risk that narrative or context may stray into the impermissible territory of third party opinion”. Accordingly, Warby J agreed to strike out parts of the truth defence. The court also observed that parts of the claimant’s damages plea introduced irrelevant issues as to what the defendant’s journalistic investigation did not enquire into, and which it would be disproportionate to try.

Catrin Evans QC was involved in this case.